Media News - Tuesday, May 08, 2012
The international broadcaster Al Jazeera said it had closed its English-language bureau in Beijing after the Chinese authorities refused to renew the press credentials of its correspondent in the country, Melissa Chan. The broadcaster expressed disappointment with the decision, which it said came after repeated attempts to apply for a visa through the normal procedures. It said it had no choice but to close the bureau because China had also denied its requests for a correspondent to replace Chan. Chan is thought to be the first accredited foreign correspondent to lose the right to report in China since the expulsion of Yukihisa Nakatsu, a reporter for Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, in October 1998. The Chinese authorities are yet to comment on the reasons for Chan's visa denial. The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) suggested it was related to the airing of an Al Jazeera documentary last November on forced labor camps in China. There is no suggestion the decision to deny Chan a visa is related to recent reporting on the scandal engulfing the former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, or the attempts by the blind activist Chen Guangcheng to leave the country. Al Jazeera's Arabic-language bureau in Beijing will continue to operate normally, said Ezzat Sabe Shahour, the bureau chief. (CNN)
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